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Moving Ahead - Pathways to Success on the MCAS
- get yourself ready for college and a career

You CAN Make it Happen!

We all take different paths to reach our goals. At every turn, there are new choices and new experiences that can help you get there. But to keep your future bright, you need to know what your options are and choose what's right for you.

Programs are in place across the state to help you pass the MCAS, fulfill Educational Proficiency Plans, and become ready for college and a career. These programs are specifically designed to help you help prepare for the future if you are in 8th-12th grade or a post-12th grader, and you have not yet earned your competency determination (met the state requirements for a high school diploma).

This web page has been designed to give you details about several programs and services available across the state (at no cost to you) to help guide you in your educational and professional pursuits. Contact your guidance counselor or the Department (see #9 below) for information regarding specific opportunities in your area.

The links below provide information about school year and summer programs (click on the underlined words below to get to the additional information).

  1. High School Programs
    Before taking the MCAS 10th grade tests or retests, we strongly urge you to prepare yourself by participating in English language arts, mathematics, and/or science and technology/engineering classes or in academic support programs offered during the fall, winter, spring, and/or summer. Programs for eligible students in grade 8-12, and for eligible post-12th graders up to the Class of 2003, may be available in your school during the day, after school, Saturdays, or during summer or school breaks. Check out our website to see the districts eligible for grants to support programs during the school year and/or summer. For some students who have taken the high school MCAS tests and have not achieved a passing score, an MCAS performance appeal may be a suitable pathway. Speak with a teacher or guidance counselor for more information.

  2. Partnerships for Pathways to Success
    Participating programs offer academic and career services to post-12th grade students up to the Class of 2003 who need further assistance to pass the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) in order to complete the state required Competency Determination for high school graduation. Some programs may also serve students in grades 11 and 12. These are partnerships between community colleges and One-Stop Career Centers.

  3. Work & Learning Programs
    Participating programs offer opportunities in local communities and regions to students in grades 9-12 and post-12th graders up to the Class of 2003. Community partners and schools collaborate with local businesses to provide programs designed to help students prepare for both the MCAS tests and the world of work.

  4. Training Programs
    Many trades in the construction and related fields offer apprenticeship programs leading to good jobs; they have different requirements for entry. Most require a high school diploma or its equivalent. Additionally, there are programs like Job Corps and YouthBuild that serve young people who have not yet completed high school, offering training in technical skills and related trades.

  5. Armed Forces
    There are many different requirements for entry to the armed forces. In general, the Services require U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (i.e., a green card if a non-citizen), a high school diploma or equivalent, good health, and minimum scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). These are general guidelines, and they can-and do-vary by service. To be 100 percent sure, discuss these details with a recruiter.

  6. Self Study
    In addition to or instead of the above programs, you can study on your own or with others. To assist with this, the questions from previous MCAS tests and retests are posted on the Department's MCAS pages.

  7. MCAS Test Taking Opportunities
    The ELA, Mathematics, and Science and Technology/Engineering tests and retests are generally offered during the fall and spring. Contact your current or most recent guidance counselor or high school principal for more information or to register for the tests.

  8. Any questions?
    Visit the Academic Support website for more information, ask your guidance counselor, or contact the Department via email ( or phone (781-338-3625) for information about the MCAS, or 781-338-3010 for information about Academic Support Programs and/or Educational Proficiency Plans).

Last Updated: July 28, 2015
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